The Navy and General Dynamics this month tested the onboard 25mm Equalizer cannon of the nation’s newest generation of fighter, the F-35, while in flight.
The above video was taken of the tests earlier this month by the Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23’s on an F-35B as part of the Pax River Integrated Test Force for the program.
The F-35 Lightning II — which is set to replace the Harrier jump jet, F-16, early models of the F-18, and possibly the A-10 in U.S. service as well as a veritable fleet of aircraft with overseas allies — is equipped in some versions with an onboard cannon for dogfighting and strafing runs.
This four-barreled GAU-22/A model gun is a smaller variant of the successful five-barreled GAU-12 long carried on the Harrier. Weighing in at 230 pounds unloaded, it generates 3,700 pounds of recoil when fired as it zips out chili-dog-sized rounds at a rate of 55 rounds per second.
Of course, it only has a 220 round magazine, or about four seconds worth of buzz time, but hey that is still more than most of its competitors such as the Eurofighter (150 27mm rounds for its Mauser BK-27 cannon), Gripen (120 rounds of 27mm), Rafale (125 rounds for its GIAT 30/M791 autocannon) or any late generation Russian fighter (the Mig-29 carries 100 rounds for its GSh-30-1 cannon while the Su-27/30/35 pack 150) can carry.
GenDyn’s spec sheet on the gun says it weighs more than 40 pounds lighter and occupies 20 percent less volume than the comparably equipped five-barrel counterpart and can fit in either the F-35A’s internal gun system installation (with a reduced magazine of 182 rounds) or the F-35B/C external gun pods as shown in the video. Capable of firing TP, HEI or API ammo at a blistering 3,400-3560fps, the gun has a dispersion of 5 mil diameter due to computer aided bursts.